Houston-based five-piece Buxton make psychedelia-infused Americana, in which classic dusty, acoustic melancholy is subtly transformed by agitated production, syncopated rhythms, buzzy keys, and a healthy dose of self-awareness. The band embraces the genre and their rootsy Texan origins, but skirts these categories’ trappings for a bigger, dreamier sound inspired by the likes of Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock. Take their new track, “Jan,” for example, the second single, following up “This Place Reminds Me Of You” off their forthcoming third album, Stay Out Late.
At first glance, “Jan” is a classic love ballad in the country-folk storytelling tradition. “When I was a boy in school I didn’t know how to love,” lead singer and guitarist Sergio Trevino warbles in his naturally forlorn, twanging vocals. He tells the story of awkward boyhood, crushes, and one particular one on a girl named Jan with pigtails and a bow, whose dad doesn’t approve so the pair run away together. Warm, reverberating strumming is cut on the choruses with plinking keys and humming accordion, creating a sound more playful than the earnest story might suggest.
Trevino shared some insight over email:
I remember writing this with the idea of how sort of whimsical young love can be. Everything is always new and exciting and you can just fall in love on a whim. I tried really hard to capture that sort of “taking flight” feeling. Also found the name Jan to just be so effortlessly charming.
The Dave McDermand-directed video for “Jan,” which we’re premiering today, is the perfect intervention: as whimsical and strange as the song’s story is archetypal. A fatigued janitor in a white-walled warehouse goes wearily into a closet to refill a mop bucket. But instead of preparing the cleaning supplies, she huffs a bucket of golden, glowing bleach, emerging in a romantic, escapist fantasy of her own. She dances around the room she’s supposed to be mopping, as the scene cuts between reality and her imagination, in which she’s dressed in Bushwick-night-out ready streetwear and her surroundings are club-lit in pink and purple. Whether (as wordplay would hint) she’s Jan or the storyteller, the song seems to be more about the idea of restless fantasy and romance, than straightforward indulgence in it.
01 “This Place Reminds Me Of You”
03 “Blood Runs Blue”
04 “Haunt You”
05 “Hanging On The Closet”
06 “Inside Out”
07 “Miles And Miles”
08 “New World”
09 “Made For Now”
10 “Hole Heart”
11 “Green Of Endless Pines”
09/27 New Braunfels, TX @ River Revival w/ The Suffers
10/05 Bryan, TX @ Grand Stafford Theater
10/12 San Angelo, TX @ Penny Live
10/18 Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas w/ Claire Morales
10/19 Houston, TX @ The Heights Theater
10/20 Dallas, TX @ Double Wide
Stay Out Late is out 10/19 on New West Records. Pre-order it here.